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Five facts about Portugal

You might want to buy a holiday home out on the Iberian Peninsula, or you might want to make a permanent move to Portugal. Whatever your interest, we’re sharing a few of our favourite facts about Portugal with you. 

Portugal has the oldest book shop in the world

In the capital of Lisbon lies the world’s oldest bookshop, called Livraria Bertrand, or the Bertrand Bookshop. The bookstore was founded in 1732 and has made it to the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest bookstore still in operation. It’s also worth noting that Lisbon is older than Rome, and is thought to be one of the oldest cities in Europe founded in 1128. 

Portuguese is the official language of nine nations

It’s not just Portugal that speaks Portuguese; eight other nations use it too. Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe. It’s also used in Goa in India and Macau, and there are thought to be over 200 million speakers worldwide, making it the 6th most spoken first language. 

The Portuguese believe in fate

The word fado comes from the Latin fatum, which means fate, and the belief that your destiny or fate can’t be escaped. The word fado has been assigned to the traditional Portuguese singing, and given its inspiration, songs are often soulful and melancholy, singing of love, loss, a lack of hope, and resignation. Violins and guitars are usually used, and this form of singing has been given the UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage Status. 

Portugal is very green

Portugal is a world leader when it comes to renewable energy. It’s estimated that around 70% of its energy comes from renewable sources including wind and solar power. There are also initiatives to turn the movement from ocean waves into energy and electricity. These include a floating wind farm also known as WindFloat and WaveRoller. 

Portugal's national drink is its most famous export

Did you know that Port is left to age for between two and six years before it’s bottled? Port is a fortified wine and gets its sweet taste from the addition of grape spirit or brandy before fermentation is finished. The grapes used for Port are only grown in the Douro valley near Porto. You’ll find steep hillsides covered in grape trees, and this area is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the oldest wine-producing regions. 

You can read more about moving to Portugal, in our Portuguese country guide, here

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